TAPP raises money to end sexual assault

Trojan Advocates for Political Progress sold sunflowers Wednesday to raise money for the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence in solidarity with sexual assault victims. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

Trojan Advocates for Political Progress sold sunflowers near Tommy Trojan Wednesday to raise money for the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, an organization that advocates for policy and education to protect victims of sexual assault.

TAPP President Alec Vandenberg said the organization aimed to voice its opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination in light of recent allegations of sexual assault. He encouraged students to call their representatives to reject Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Vandenberg also said that TAPP opposes Kavanaugh for his record as a judge.

“[Kavanaugh] has a record of not protecting the rights of women and their right to choose [to get an abortion],” Vandenberg said. “Looking at his record on the [Washington] D.C. circuit, we take offense with the fact that he would steer our Court far to the right, especially on social issues.”

Latinx Student Assembly Political Director Stephanie Solis attended and expressed her own concerns with Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“Coming from a state that only has access to one abortion clinic, I think having him in office just allows my state representatives and other state representatives to keep going on their path to deny women access,” said Solis, who is from Kentucky.

Vandenberg said TAPP is asking students to call their representatives to support the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. While the spending bill recently signed by President Donald Trump extended VAWA to Dec. 7, its future is uncertain.

TAPP member Natasha Shields said that there are institutional problems in protecting survivors of sexual assault in the country. Instead of having a long process for seeking justice, she said that survivors should be able to get help “instantaneously.”

“As someone who’s been a survivor, when you’re going through the process you end up having to stop yourself because of all the steps that are required to take,” Shields said. She said there were times she felt the entire process was not worth the result.

TAPP’s event occurred two days after a protest at the Price School of Public Policy against Professor James Moore, who sent a controversial email that said “accusers sometimes lie.”

Solis called Moore’s statement “dangerous” and said he is “complicit to this rape culture that keeps perpetuating on campuses and in our nation.”